Caliper extends screening services

Adds RapidKinase profiling and enzymatic mechanism of action studies

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HOPKINTON, Mass.—Looking to take advantage of what it sees as significant time savings for kinase screening, Caliper Discovery Alliances and Services (CDAS), the contract research organization with Caliper Life Sciences, announced early this month it was extending its services to include both RapidKinase profiling and enzymatic mechanism of action studies using the company's LabChip EZ Reader and ProfilerPro reagents.

By leveraging these in-house technologies, CDAS is looking to shorten the turn-around time for kinase screening to clients from two to three weeks to as little as one week, says David Manyak, executive VP of drug discovery services for Caliper.

The time savings is a result of Caliper leveraging its microfluidic and automation technologies, which allow it to multiplex kinase screening on a 384-well plate.

"The classical way of performing this work, which we have done in the past, is to run one assay at a time," says Manyak. "That could mean anywhere from four to eight assays were run in a typical day."

With RapidKinase, Caliper is able to populate each microplate with as many as 24 different kinases, accurately screening a much greater number in the same amount of time. Run times for some assays are thus decreased to one to two days. "We can now tell our customers we can deliver results to them in as little as one week," Manyak notes.

Target customers for these services aren't just smaller companies that might not have the wherewithal to purchase and run a highly automated LabChip system in-house.

"I would say the service clients are some mid-level pharmas, but we definitely have clients who are bigger and are looking to get more rapid feedback than current outsourcing can give them," says Mark Roskey, vice president of reagents and applied biology at Caliper. "Sometimes, keeping the work in house doesn't mesh with a company's chemistry development cycle, and we can shorten that chemistry cycle so they can keep their chemistry work going."

The launch of the new services also coincided with Caliper's announcement that the company now has more than 200 kinases available both for use in the CRO portion of the business as well as for sale to companies who do screening activities in-house.

The mechanism of action studies, also added along with RapidKinase, provide researchers with detailed information about the manner in which compounds interact with enzymatic targets and are important for characterizing allosteric inhibitors and assessing kinetic on and off rates. These studies have the potential to help companies create more precise dosing regimens for potential therapeutics as slow off rates take a longer-than-normal amount of time to disassociate from the kinase, which in turn allows for lower doses for effective treatment while also lowering the potential for adverse side effects.

The launch of CDAS by Caliper came in conjunction with the company's acquisition over the past couple of years of both in vitro specialist NovaScreen and in vitro testing and imaging company Xenogen. The strategy, according to Manyak, the former CEO of NovaScreen, is to provide customers with the best of both in vivo and in vitro screening and testing under the CDAS umbrella. DDN

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